Cancers of the Pancreas
Ampullary cancers are tumours of the ampulla of vater (a ring of muscle at the bottom of the bile duct within the duodenum). They usually present with jaundice as the main symptom. Surgical treatment of ampullary cancers is similar to the treatment of pancreatic cancers.
The duodenum is the first part of the bowel, where the stomach joins the small bowel. Cancerous tumours of the duodenum can be managed in several ways. The surgical options could include an operation to remove the whole duodenum or surgery to bypass the duodenum. Occasionally we may recommend an endoscopy to place stent in the duodenum or an appointment with our oncology colleagues to discuss chemotherapy options. Your consultant will discuss the various options with you and together, you can decide which treatment option is right for you.
Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer)
Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer of the bile ducts. It can occur anywhere in the biliary tree system. It presents in a very similar way to pancreatic cancer (jaundice, weight loss and abdominal pain). There are treatment options available for this type of cancer, it can be involve surgery, endoscopy, chemotherapy or a combination of all three.
Pancreatic cancer is a tumour of the pancreatic gland. About 95% of pancreatic tumours are called adenocarcinomas, the arise from gland itself. They can be located anywhere in the pancreas (e.g. the head, body or tail of the pancreas).
Patients with pancreatic cancer may present with jaundice, weight loss, abdominal or back pain or the tumour may be found incidentally on a scan of the abdomen requested for an unrelated reason. The early symptoms may be vague and can go unnoticed for several weeks or months before patients are diagnosed. Pancreatic cancer is slightly more common in older people, in people who drink excessive alcohol and those who smoke.
More information about Pancreatic Cancer can be found:
Pancreatic Cancer UK website provides more detailed information.